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The Giulia offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Giulia’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
Both the Giulia and the Jetta GLI have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Giulia the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta GLI has not been tested, yet.
The Giulia comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. Alfa Romeo will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Jetta GLI.
The engine in the Giulia has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Jetta GLI has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.
The battery on the Giulia is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Giulia’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Jetta GLI’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.
The Giulia’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 52 more horsepower (280 vs. 228) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (306 vs. 258) than the Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
As tested in Car and Driver the Alfa Romeo Giulia is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta GLI (automatics tested):
Zero to 60 MPH
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Alfa Romeo Giulia uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Jetta GLI requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Giulia has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta GLI (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta GLI.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Alfa Romeo Giulia, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Jetta GLI.
The Giulia Ti’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta GLI’s 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Giulia Ti offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Jetta GLI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the Giulia can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Giulia’s wheelbase is 5.4 inches longer than on the Jetta GLI (111 inches vs. 105.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Giulia is .6 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Jetta GLI.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Giulia a Mid-size car, while the Jetta GLI is rated a Compact.
The Giulia has .1 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more front shoulder room and .4 inches more rear headroom than the Jetta GLI.
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Giulia easier. The Giulia’s trunk lift-over height is 25.8 inches, while the Jetta GLI’s liftover is 28.7 inches.
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Giulia’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Jetta GLI’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Giulia. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The Giulia uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Jetta GLI uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The engine in the Giulia is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Jetta GLI. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Giulia to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Giulia detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Giulia offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Giulia offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Jetta GLI has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the Giulia and the Jetta GLI offer available heated front seats. The Giulia also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Jetta GLI.
On extremely cold winter days, the Giulia’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Both the Giulia and the Jetta GLI offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Giulia has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Giulia offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The Giulia’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Jetta GLI’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
The Giulia was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Jetta GLI has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
Motor Trend selected the Giulia as their 2018 Car of the Year. The Jetta GLI has never been chosen.
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